Geospatial Technology for Urban Sciences

Geospatial Technology for Urban Sciences

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3683-3.ch005

Abstract

Application of geospatial technology viz., remote sensing (RS), geographic information system (GIS), and global positioning system (GPS) may have significant role in investigations related to earth system science events. Especially investigations pertaining to urban system science needs support of geospatial technology as the urban events are dynamic and complex in nature. This chapter explains about the significance of geospatial technology in the context of urban sciences. It also provides brief details about different spatial technology. Furthermore, a conceptual research methodology is provided which demonstrates the application of geospatial technology in assessing an urban event. It would help readers to develop a strong understanding about the significance of geospatial technology, and about the ways, it can be implemented for urban science investigations.
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Introduction

The earth surface has been changing rapidly due to unprecedented growth in population. The urban centres are the worst hit of this phenomenon. It has been observed that there has been unprecedented growth in urban population due to globalization. Globalization is a consequence of industrial civilization. It is the primary reason which is responsible for unprecedented growth in urban centres. Countries across the world are witnessing this phenomenon. People from non-urban regions have been flocking towards the urban centres in search for better livelihood opportunities. Their movement is inspired by the aspiration of a better life. They want their lives to be sustainable in terms of social and economic aspects. We can say that there is nothing wrong in such aspirations as everyone has right to an easy and comfortable life. And that requires better opportunities to make their lives socially and economically secure. Consequently, they chose to move towards better opportunities which an urban centre provides. That’s why there has been such unprecedented growth in urban population.

It is also true that these urban centres act as backbone of a nation’s economy. Therefore, in no way, there is a possibility that evolution of these urban centres can be stopped. However, there are various negative consequences of such unprecedented growth in urban centres across the world. For example, huge increase in urban population is the primary reason behind rapid transformation of land use and land cover of a city. And there is no doubt in the fact that land system is the central component of an environmental system. If there are abrupt changes in the land system, then there is huge possibility that the sustainability of the urban system will be disturbed. This is what happening in most part of the world. The conversion of land into other land forms is unchecked. Consequently, the land transformation is not controlled and therefore, it is now threatening the possibility of a sustainable habitat.

There is a need to highlight the fact that it is very difficult to control the land transformation process if the driving factors are not controlled. And the driving factors are basically related to socio-political and socio-economical aspects of a human society. So, there is a need to understand that the reasons responsible for emergence of particular patterns in the urban landscape. That would help in understanding the principle of different urban processes. And once the principle of various urban processes is understood, and then it would be easy to unlock the complexities prevailing in the urban system. It also needs to be understood that what we see on the earth surface is a key to understanding the working principle of earth systems. Therefore, it is an absolute necessity that we should monitor the characteristics of spatial features accurately and precisely. It would help us to understand the role of various underlying processes responsible for various patterns. Hence, it is necessary that we should have some mechanism which can be effective in monitoring the different aspects of the earth system.

And it is worth mentioning here that various aspects of the earth system need to be monitored as it is a well-accepted fact that different aspects of the earth system influence the characteristics of each other. So, if we choose to ignore a certain aspect of the earth system then it may happen that characterization of an aspect of the earth system may not be precise and accurate. Therefore, this is an absolute necessity that different aspects of the earth system should be monitored as it would help to make the earth system a sustainable and robust system. However, it is not easy to monitor the features of earth system in such a large scale. In addition, such a huge collection of data related to earth surface further needs effective data processing measures. Otherwise, despite having data, we would not be able to extract meaningful information from the data set. And if we cannot extract meaningful information from the collected data about the earth surface then it would not be possible to understand the principles of various processes. That further would stop us from formulation of effective and robust policies which can make the earth system, a sustainable system. Here comes the role of geospatial technologies.

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